The Truth About Nutrition…

The truth about nutrition is simple….if it comes packaged and altered…it is probably not how nature intended it!

vegetarian Indonesian Sate

It kills me when tv advertising suggests Fruit Loops are healthy with their 2% fibre or granola bars are 20% of your daily fibre needs.  Come on – are you trying to tell me that I can eat 5 of these things to meet my daily fibre requirements….I don’t think so.  Plus, I am missing out on pretty much all of my vitamin, mineral and amino acid needs….

stop the insanity

Stop the insanity!

Then, I saw this anti-ad on Coke – it is BRILLIANT!!!  YOU HAVE TO WATCH IT!

Obesity and malnutrition are endemic in our land of plenty diets and it is unfathomable!  It pains me every time I see ads on tv that suggest the food that the company is spending millions promoting is better for us that the natural foods you find in nature!  Sure, we may have to prepare it a little – but the question I have for you is: Aren’t you worth it???

One of the messages that I hear in so many places…nutrition, business etc….is to live by the 80/20 rule.  For nutrition that means eat well 80% of the time, but allow for treats and crazy schedules for up to 20% of the time!

Personally, I don’t drink Coke – it hurts my stomach and makes me burp through my nose. As a kid, it was a treat – you know, once in a blue moon.  When, as a society, did we start drinking it every day?  We can’t lay all the blame on Coke, although that YouTube clip was hilarious and made it so easy….but the time is now…take control of what you eat for a better and healthier you!

cutting green beans

Related Links:

New Year’s Resolutions – Bah! – 10 Commandments of a healthy diet


Beans, Beans, Beans

Full of beans….we describe kids that are brimming with energy as being full of beans.  Loaded with energy.  Don’t most of us wish we had the energy of kids.  They run and play all day, energy galore!

Red and white kidney beans

The cornerstone to a healthy diet is is a diet full of vitamins, minerals and fibre…all of which the humble bean has is spades!  Do they play a hearty role in your diet?

I generally have the intentions of eating more beans, but somewhere along the way….it doesn’t always happen!  I use more canned beans…little forethought is required.  The only problem with the canning process is that it does rob some of the nutrients.  There also tends to be a higher sodium content in the can (a good rinsing will help here).  While eating canned beans is better than no beans….I often forget to soak my beans the night before!  To speed up the process, you can place the beans in a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat off and leave them to soak for an hour.  To cook – bring the beans and soaking liquid to a boil in a large pot, reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender.  Time will vary based on type of bean.

Benefits of Beans

Virtually fat free, beans are loaded with high doses of folate, B vitamins and iron.  Basically, your vitality nutrients loaded up in a neat little package.  They are also a brilliant source of non-animal protein.

Heart healthy – beans have benefits for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.

Beans contain lignans – phytoestrogens that may reduce the risk of estrogen related cancers.  Recent studies also show benefits in curbing pancreatic and colon cancers.

Loaded with fibre (soluble and insoluble) – beans are extremely beneficial for colon health, normalizing blood sugar levels and feeling full…a huge benefit for those watching their weight!

Beans are a great source of complex carbohydrates – essential to our well being.

Are you getting enough beans in your diet?

bags of beans at Namche Bazaar

I tend to find it very easy to eat kidney and garbanzo beans (chick peas).  Red lentils are a staple in my fall and winter soup armamentarium…but what about some of the others?

Have you heard of Aduki beans?  I first heard of them when I bought Gillian McKeith‘s “You are what you eat” book.  I became her fan when her show appeared on tv here in Canada.  While her tactics can be shocking at times, I appreciate some of the messages she puts forth…predominantly focusing on a healthy, natural diet and lifestyle.  Simple changes incorporated into our daily life can have an important positive impact on our quality of life….and these changes can actually cost us less.  Beans are a very economical choice in the pantry!

Green lentils

So, in an attempt to introduce a great variety of beans to my diet, I will be adding Aduki and Mung Beans.

Aduki beans are high in nutrients but low in calories.  The Japanese recognize these beans for their healing qualities.  They are touted as being beneficial for kidney and bladder infections…but I have limited information in this regard.  They are exceptionally high in fibre, B vitamins and minerals (iron, manganese and zinc), act as a natural diuretic and are brilliant for weight loss.

Mung Beans – believed to be beneficial in detoxifying the body, mung beans possess all the benefits of their fellow beans – heart healthy, brilliant for diabetics and blood sugar regulation.  They are also said to have benefits for post menopause due to the variety of isoflavone nutrients they possess.  Mung beans are said to be estrogenic in nature due to their phytoestrogen content.

Dried beans, if stored in a dry, air tight contain, are good for a year in the panty.  Don’t mix old and new as the older the bean, the longer they need to cook.  Cooking times do vary for beans – a basic guideline taken from What’s Cooking America shows:

Beans (soaked)


Pressure Cooker
at 15 Lb. Pressure

Black Beans 1 to 1½ hours
5 to 8 Min.
Garbanzo Beans 1 to 1½ hours 5 to 7 Min.
Great Northerns 1 to 1½ hours 5 to 7 Min.
Lima Beans, Large 45 to 60 minutes Not Recommended
Lima Beans, Baby
1 hour Not Recommended
Navy or Small Whites 1 to 1½ hours 5 to 8 Min.
Pink Beans 1 to 1½ hours 6 to 8 Min.
Pinto Beans 1 to 1½ hours 5 to 7 Min.
Red Beans 1 to 1½ hours 6 to 8 Min.
Red Kidney Beans 1 to 1½ hours 5 to 8 Min.
Soybeans 3 hours 12 to 15 Min.
Beans (not soaked) Saucepan Pressure Cooker*
Black-Eyed Peas 1 to 1½ hours Not Recommended
Lentils 30 to 45 minutes Not Recommended
Split Peas, Green 30 to 45 minutes Not Recommended

Beans are so versatile….great in soups, salads and stews.  They are also brilliant made into a healthy dip for veggies…so what are you waiting for?

benefits of beans and lentils

Related posts:

New Year’s Resolutions – bah!

I, for one, don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions!  So many are made, so many are broken!  What is the point if it is not defined and doable!

photo taken from facebook, source unknown.

It’s like the diet that becomes the uncontrolled yo-yo!  Many of us (me definitely included here) have been there, done that!  Rather than a New Year’s Resolution, I prefer to think in terms of a commitment to myself, for myself!

If you have followed this blog (still in infancy, and having just come off of Christmas holidays), you will know that I have taken up studying holistic nutrition as a means of making a commitment to myself!  Sadly, I often let life get in the way and fall off the wagon many times (sugar and stress – best friends in my world!), but I do try to remain true to a lifestyle commitment that I made when I first signed up for the course!

One of the early lessons is premised on 10 basic principles, or the 10 Commandments of a Healthy Diet (taken from Elson Haas textbook – Staying Healthy with Nutrition).  The keys are whole, live, natural, good quality foods.

1.  Natural Foods – you know what I am talking about – avoiding the processed and manufactured foods, especially those whose primary ingredients are no longer recognizable or pronounce-able!

2.  Seasonal Foods – these hold the highest possible nutritional value and remain in harmony with the natural cycles of the year.  For example – a hearty stew may be better suited to a cold winters day, whereas a juicy watermelon is more likely to quench your thirst on a hot summer afternoon!

3.  Fresh Foods – fresh from the garden will have the maximum nutrition.  While this isn’t always possible, over processed foods become dead foods – live enzymes that benefit the body are destroyed by the processing and manufacturing process.

4.  Nutritious Foods – goes without saying, if you are looking for a better balance in life, a variety of nutritious, foods loaded with vitamins and minerals are more likely the way to go!

5.  Clean Foods – keep them chemical free, avoid GMOs (Genetically Modified) – afterall, tomatoes were not supposed to have fish proteins!!!  Also under clean foods is proper storing and handling – need I say more?

6.  Tasty and Appealing Foods – there is a little science behind this one – if the food is not appealing, and you don’t salivate, your body doesn’t produce the necessary digestive enzyme – amylase – crucial for proper absorption.

7.  Variety and Rotation – how else are you going to get a variety of nutrients.  If you only eat the same food all the time – you only get the same nutrients, so mix it up!

8.  Food Combining – can be a heavily contested topic, so I will limit comment to this – can be labour intensive, is not suited to everyone but it can decrease the stress on the digestive system.

9.  Moderation – don’t go crazy – you can have the naughty goodies …. in moderation.  Some suggest the 80/20 rule – as long as you eat well 80% of the time, you can indulge 20%.  You be your own judge, but I know when I try to go too perfect, the thump on the ground as I fall off that wagon always hurts more!  You just can’t always be perfect – especially when traveling – did someone say fish tacos!!!  (A little taste of the naughty in Jamaica – how’s the food?)

10.  Balance – need to have balance in macronutrients (protein/fat/carb) and micronutrients.  Basically, if you are following Haas’ guidelines, you should find balance in your nutrition.